The strings of my heart pluck black-and-blue when I see an instrument, such as a violin nailed, hanging on a wall next to a painting. I’ve seen these crucifixions many times in New York City, touring and pricing apartments as a real estate agent and always keep such grievances to myself. But today, I’m no longer able to be mute.
The owners of these luthiers are not musicians. They are collectors. A leisure pursuit—at times an honorable one, that empowers them with trophies of another man’s genius: ownership of esteemed pieces cultivates an aura of literati, serving to heighten their status—separating them from the common man. I see myself as common—an average person, who is not part of affluent sect and just happens to know the value of the of an over-the-top apartment.
I am content with this station of commoner and with the fact, that I will never own a Stadivari or Guadagnini or even the smallest Modigliani sketch. I just sell and rent Manhattan apartments. And yet, I wonder why such acts of blasphemy, like nailing a violin on a wall, silences the hertz of 440—the perfect note by which all things are tuned by, within my common-real-estate-brokering-soul. Hanging a string instrument on a wall does not impress me nor is it art to me. The art is inside the instrument (which of course cannot be seen); it must be played in order for us to experience the genius of artisan beauty contained by that structure of wood. Those continual vibrations brought about by even a novice musician, who glides a bow over strings, increases its value—pulling a pure, deep history of singing tones from inside. That is art.
A home is like a violin: it must be played or else it dies, losing its luster, creating cracks within the hollow. There must be life within a structure for it to be a home.